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Secret Letters from 0-10 by Susie…

Secret Letters from 0-10

by Susie Morgenstern

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Ernest lives a constrained, boring life. His mother died when he was born, and his father disappeared shortly after, so Ernest is being raised by his grandmother, a woman so wrapped in the past that she has forgotten how to live. Every day Ernest walks the same way to school, eats the same foods, and studies diligently alone in his room. The ten years of his life had passed so far at a turtle's pace, as if it had been slowed down by the premature onset of old age. Then one day, a new girl appears in his class who changes everything with her forthright manner and large, boisterous family. Victoria introduces color and vivacity into the lives of Ernest and his grandmother.

He repeated {to his grandmother} something Victoria had said: "Energy is like eating. Once you try a little, you get an appetite."

With newly found confidence and togetherness, Ernest and his grandmother are able to confront the family's ghosts and move on.

My daughter and I read this aloud, and we both enjoyed it a great deal. My daughter relished the relationship between Ernest and Victoria and their escapades. I appreciated the relationship of a child and family member who are trying to overcome emotional inertia to reconnect and find a new way forward together. The language is smart and the story is touching without being sappy. Nicely done. ( )
1 vote labfs39 | Apr 14, 2012 |
I really enjoyed reading this book, even the second time around. I'd say it was suited for children in 5th-6th grade
  jmantzura | Apr 27, 2010 |
10-year-old Ernest lives a quiet, regimented life with his 80-year-old grandmother and their elderly housemaid in France where there is no TV, no telephone, and absolutely no discussion of the past, which includes the death of his mother during childbirth and the disappearance of his father the day Ernest was born. Suddenly one day Ernest’s life is turned upside-down with the arrival of a new girl at school, named Victoria, who informs Ernest that they will be getting married in the future. Victoria has a passion for life and in giving Ernest her friendship she introduces him to things such as eating chocolate, fondue, riding in cars, watching movies, going out, and her enormous quirky family that show Ernest a side of family life he never knew existed. With the help of Victoria, aka “the Bulldozer,” Ernest attempts to reintroduce his grandmother to the joys of the little things in life and discover the mystery involving his father.
A pure delight to read, this book was at times quite humorous and touching. When the other little girls are jealous of Victoria's relationship with Ernest and send her nasty notes, she replies that she can't help it, recites their future wedding date, and adds that her response doubles as a wedding invitation. The Batchelder Award goes to books considered to be the most outstanding published in a foreign language in a foreign country. While Secret Letters From 0 To 10 was only recognized as an honor in this category, I still believe this is a wonderful book. Though some teens might consider this book to be a little juvenile, the more challenging vocabulary and mature writing style probably makes this title better for middle school aged readers than elementary, but even older teens can enjoy its unusual charm for a quick read. ( )
  ajramsden | Nov 26, 2008 |
I thought that this book was such an adorable, entertaining, and quirky read. ( )
  librarychicgeek | Sep 1, 2008 |
An interesting story. Ernest lives alone with his grandmother who is stuck in the past and basically has no life until he meets Victoria and her large family. Meanwhile he begins his search for his missing father. Watching unworldy Ernest "bloom" because of Victoria's bulldozer- style personality is a lot of fun. ( )
  desislc | Apr 21, 2008 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141308192, Paperback)

Ten-year-old Ernest lives a flat, colorless life. Each day is the same: he comes home right after school, eats a healthy snack, and does his homework. Enter Victoria, the new girl in class. Victoria instantly falls in love with Ernest, and bulldozes her way into his life. Much to Ernest's surprise, he likes it. Bit by bit, color seeps into Ernest's humdrum existence--and he begins to realize that life can hold an endless variety of love, friendship, adventure, and change. "Quirky characters, heightening suspense, and hilarious situations are deftly combined in this tender novel, which examines a few of the large and small ways people affect one another." --Booklist, starred review

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:15 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Ten-year-old Ernest lives a boring existence in Paris with his grandmother until a lively girl named Victory enters his class at school.

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